If you’ve followed Studio 180 Design for any period of time, you know that we have a complete lineup of tools. There are what we like to call fundamental tools, for some of the most common units in quilting; and then there are Rapid Fire and star tools that make more complex units and blocks. Do you know the difference between these two categories? Let’s go over how you can tell the difference and what to look for when picking a tool to work with.
Our fundamental tools make what Deb likes to consider the building blocks in quilts. We can start with the Tucker Trimmer®, a tool that makes half square triangles, quarter square triangles, and combination units. This is the tool that many people start with and is a great introduction to how the Studio 180 Design process works. Following the charts, you start with squares that are slightly oversized and after constructing the units, you trim them down to the exact unfinished size that you need for greater precision when piecing your blocks. All of the other tools, both fundamental and star, use this same process.
A few other tools also make common units in quilting; the Wing Clipper® for flying geese, V Block® for units sometimes knows as Peaky and Spike or Tri Recs, and Square Squared® which makes a square inside of a square.
The rest of the tools in the fundamental category make units that aren’t quite as common as the first four mentioned, but are frequently used in quilting; Corner Beam®, Corner Pop®, Split Rects®, Diamond Rects®, and Four Patch Square Up®.
Along with all of the basic shapes that the fundamental tools make, there are also Technique Sheets for most of the tools. These 8½” x 11” sheets show you other units that you can make with your tools, giving you an even wider variety of units. From Log Cabin blocks, to Economy blocks, our Technique Sheets make your tools even more dynamic.
The other category of tools makes more complex units and blocks. All of these tools make blocks that form stars. The whole idea behind Studio 180 Design was started with the Rapid Fire® Hunter’s Star tool. As with all of the other tools in this category, you make the blocks oversized with strip piecing and then trim them down using the tool. You sew four blocks together to make a star with the Rapid Fire® Hunter's Star process.The Rapid Fire® Lemoyne Star tool makes Lemoyne Stars and also has a full complement of Technique Sheets. Wedge Star® tool makes stars similar to Lemoyne Star, as well as making kaleidoscope type blocks. The difference between Lemoyne Star and Wedge star is fairly small but makes a big difference! The Wedge Star points north, south, east and west while the Lemoyne Star points are tilted. The Star 60® tool works with 60° shapes. You can use the tool make half hexagons and 60° triangles. Both Wedge Star and Star 60 tools have Technique Sheets that offer a wide variety of additional units you can make.
How do you choose what tool to use in your quilting? You can make any one of our patterns that use our tools and techniques, or you can use them to “Tuckerize” patterns that use the basic shapes, but may not be written for the tools. Deb has some great Tips and Tricks videos about Tuckerizing. You can start with Tuckerizing 101 and take a look at some of the other Tuckerizing videos that are specific to the tools on our YouTube channel.
With all of the tools available in the Studio 180 Design lineup, there is sure to be something to help you make your quilts. Do you have a favorite tool or unit you like to use? Share your quilts and creations with us on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtags #studio180design and #studio180designfavoritetool.